United States defender Michael Orozco insists the pressure is on Mexico as the two CONCACAF nations vie to qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup.
Orozco and Co. host Gold Cup champions Mexico at Rose Bowl in California on Saturday, with a spot at the Confederations Cup in Russia up for grabs.
The first-ever CONCACAF Cup play-off – a contest between the winners of the two Gold Cups prior to the Confederations Cup – will take place after Mexico claimed their seventh Gold Cup crown, two years on from USA’s success.
So much is at stake for both nations ahead of the do-or-die clash, but Orozco feels the onus is on the Mexicans, who are winless in six matches against USA.
“It’s more intense for them. They have a lot of pressure,” said Orozco, who plies his trade in Mexico for Tijuana.
“Obviously, their first squad hasn’t been doing all that great, and they’re just going to come out here and try to tear things off in the first 10 minutes, and we’ve just got to be ready to contain them.
“They have more pressure than us. We’re at home, and we just have to contain those first minutes.”
USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann named an experienced 23-man squad for this encounter, with 16 players from the 2014 World Cup given the nod.
The likes of veterans Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Michael Bradley and DaMarcus Beasley will feature in front of 90,000 spectators in California.
Mexico – led by interim boss Ricardo Ferretti ahead of Juan Carlos Osorio’s imminent arrival – called upon experienced pair Andres Guardado and Rafael Marquez.
Star forward Giovani dos Santos, however, is sidelined due to a right adductor injured sustained while in action for LA Galaxy against Seattle Sounders in MLS action last week.
Orozco added: “There’s, obviously, a lot of talk about how big this game is and that they can’t lose.
“Since we’re always fighting for the No. 1 spot in CONCACAF and them trying to change coaches, they just don’t want to lose this game.
“We don’t either, and it will be a tough one. We’re mentally ready for all of this.”